END OF AN ERA: The faces of former mayor Keith Campbell across many years of service to his community. Photo: Laura Blackmore
END OF AN ERA: The faces of former mayor Keith Campbell across many years of service to his community. Photo: Laura Blackmore

END OF ERA: Campbell concedes, ECQ still to declare win

INCUMBENT mayor Keith Campbell has conceded defeat despite the lack of an official declaration by the Election Commission of Queensland.

The official first preference count on the ECQ’s website showed Mr Otto was leading on 7445 votes to Campbell’s 6836 votes.

The former mayor began his council career before amalgamation, serving nine years with the former Kingaroy Shire Council.

When the region amalgamated he was the only councillor to stand unopposed in the 2008 elections for Division 4 of the South Burnett Regional Council.

Mr Campbell was Wayne Kratzmann’s deputy mayor from 2012 to 2016, before he was elected mayor in 2016, ahead of four other candidates.

Now, Mr Campbell said he had accepted the position he was in after serving the community for more than two decades.

Former South Burnett mayor Keith Campbell. Photo: Contributed
Former South Burnett mayor Keith Campbell. Photo: Contributed

“The commitment I made to serve two terms as mayor has not been accepted by voters,” Mr Campbell said.

“My approach in this election was to celebrate the achievements of the South Burnett and continue to be positive about the future and build economic growth.

“Since amalgamation we have seen a change of mayor at each election, two voluntarily and myself involuntarily.

“While I am disappointed that my approach was not sufficient to convince enough voters to ensure a continuation of stable local government, particularly during these very challenging times of COVID-19, I have no option other than to accept the decision.

“I congratulate and wish incoming mayor Brett Otto well in his role as well as the new team of councillors.

“Congratulations to each of you. I want to also acknowledge the efforts of Cr Terry Fleischfresser who has been replaced by Cr Kirstie Schumacher, Cr Ros Heit who was replaced by Cr Hook Henschen, and I wish to congratulate Crs Duff and Potter on their campaign successes.

“Crs Jones and Frohloff were unchallenged which exhibits the support their divisions have toward them.”

Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff, Cr Gavin 'Spud' Jones, Cr Danita Potter, Mayor Keith Campbell, Cr Roz Frohloff and Cr Terry Fleischfresser (Absent: Cr Ros Heit) at the last council meeting before voters went to the polls. Photo: Laura Blackmore
Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff, Cr Gavin 'Spud' Jones, Cr Danita Potter, Mayor Keith Campbell, Cr Roz Frohloff and Cr Terry Fleischfresser (Absent: Cr Ros Heit) at the last council meeting before voters went to the polls. Photo: Laura Blackmore

Despite the disappointing result, Mr Campbell said he extended his thanks to the community.

“I want to say that holding the position of mayor has been a great privilege and honour,” he said.

“My wife Marion and our family join with me to thank the South Burnett for this distinction to work for you and with you, to lead council during the past four years and to achieve a number of great accomplishments.

“In particular, thank you to all people who had confidence in my leadership and voted for me.”

Mr Campbell said he hoped the collective effort by council to unite and do what was best for the community would be remembered in the long term.

Marion Campbell and Keith Campbell with Bess Thorp at her 100th birthday celebrations on February 11, 2020. Photo: Jessica McGrath
Marion Campbell and Keith Campbell with Bess Thorp at her 100th birthday celebrations on February 11, 2020. Photo: Jessica McGrath

“It’s difficult to say goodbye to something that you love doing,” Mr Campbell said.

“I’m very proud of what the past term of local government delivered for the South Burnett and perhaps in time those will be remembered as having improved our region for the long term.

“This was achieved by building a solid partnership between councillors, the CEO and senior staff, with the standout achievement being the strengthening of your council’s financial position and overall improved performance across the breadth of council operations.

“Mayor Otto inherits a much stronger financial position than any council mayor since amalgamation.

“I am confident that I leave the position of mayor with the South Burnett in a better position now than it has been since amalgamations 12 years ago.

“I have been honoured to work with each council team since amalgamation to improve the infrastructure, facilities and services that each town has.

“I wish the new team well.”

Former mayor Keith Campbell across many years of service to his community. Photo: Laura Blackmore
Former mayor Keith Campbell across many years of service to his community. Photo: Laura Blackmore

A spokeswoman from the ECQ said they hoped to be able to officially declare the successful candidate for the mayoral role of the South Burnett Regional Council this week.